January 2013 English Regents review

New York State English Regents Exam
Part 4 The Critical Lens
Part 4 – The Critical Lens
 Writing the Critical Lens Essay
Your Critical Lens:
“The real hero is always a
hero by mistake…”
--Umberto Eco
Travels in Hyperreality, 1986
Critical Lens—Your Guidelines
 Provide a valid interpretation of the quote
 Clearly establish criteria for analysis
 Indicate whether you agree or disagree
 Choose two works to support your opinion
 Use specific and appropriate literary elements for analysis
 Organize your ideas clearly
 Specify titles, authors and details
 Follow the conventions of English
 Introduce and state the quote
 Interpret the quote fully and in your own words—what
does this quote mean?
 Show agreement or disagreement
 State thesis or stance and State two works of literature
and the authors you will use to support your statement.
Introduction (actual)
Umberto Eco once said, “The real hero is always a
hero by mistake.” This means that sometimes people or
characters are faced with tough choices that are
unexpected. In these times of tough choices, heroes can
arise. This quote is shown to be true through the books Of
Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and The Crucible by
Arthur Miller. In these two works, characters are forced into
difficult situations where they ultimately make a “heroic”
Body Paragraphs
 Include a topic sentence to introduce the text and
 Transition and include your literary elements (may
be multiple sentences)
 Connect back to the lens (may be multiple sentences)
 Concluding sentence.
Body Paragraph 1 (sample)
In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, George is one character
who is forced to make a very difficult decision. One literary element
that helps support this is the theme of friendship. George and Lennie
are very good friends but when Lennie unintentionally kills Curley’s
wife all the men from the ranch are out for revenge. When George
catches up with Lennie, his friendship is put to the test as he is faced
with an impossible decision. George acts in Lennie’s best interest by
making sure that Lennie’s last words are uplifting and optimistic.
George decides that as Lennie’s friend, it is best for him to end
Lennie’s life rather than leave him to face the mob. George proves to
be Lennie’s “hero” by sparing him the unnecessary guilt and pain.
Of Mice and Men gives an excellent example of how heroes can
emerge from unexpected and even unpleasant situations.
Body Paragraph 2 (sample)
Another great example of a “mistaken” hero is John Proctor
from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In this play, John Proctor is a
simple man who is characterized by Miller to be honest, trustworthy,
and hardworking. These qualities prove him to be heroic in a time
of madness and injustice. Proctor becomes a spokesperson for the
average citizen in a Puritan world where accusations lead to
prosecution and death. When John Proctor sacrifices his good name
in order to help his wife escape lynching, he is seen as heroic. Other
members of the community idolize his selflessness and realize that
through this difficult time, Proctor rose to face the unfairness
without fear. Arthur Miller created a true hero when he created the
character of John Proctor. Although Proctor did not succeed with his
goals, he still achieved greatness by simply trying to stand up for
what he believed.
 Re-state an interpretation of the quote
 Show agreement/disagreement
 Briefly review main points made
 Tie main ideas back to the lens and your thesis
Conclusion (sample)
Heroes truly come from accidental situations where
characters have been able to rise to an unfortunate
occasion. In unpredictable times, both George from Of
Mice and Men and John Proctor from The Crucible were
able to do what was right despite a devastating
circumstance. By doing the right thing even when it was
difficult, both characters were able to become heroes in
one way or another. This proves that true heroes can
make difficult choices and rise up even when they don’t
necessarily mean to.
Final Step
 Review your work!
 Use the guidelines provided to make sure your
response completely answers the question.
 Re-read for spelling or grammatical errors
 Neatly cross-out and revise any mistakes

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